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MBA LiveWire Briefing: Wharton R1 Interviews and Rejections

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Clear Admit’s MBA LiveWire continued its run of intense activity yesterday as the applicant focus shifted from MIT Sloan to UPenn / Wharton.  Wharton released its Round 1 interview invites and rejections in the early afternoon, in less than 24 hours 129 candidates had posted their results on MBA LiveWire.

For those curious about the HBS R1 interview invitation stage, check out MBA LiveWire briefing: HBS Round 1 Interview Decisions. And, for those interested in our analysis of Booth’s R1 interview stage, check out MBA LiveWire briefing: Chicago Booth Round 1 Interview Decisions.

As always, with MBA LiveWire, we preface our analysis with a reminder that we’re still dealing with a relatively small sample size. Of course, the more of you who upload your results, the better MBA LiveWire and these analyses will become. So if you have news, head over to MBA LiveWire to post!

Wharton Rejections Best Booth and HBS in the GMAT Domain
There were 59 candidates who posted to MBA LiveWire to indicate that they were denied without an interview. This comprises 46 percent of the Wharton applicants we heard from. The average GMAT score of this group is 741, with a range of 700 to 780. The average GPA (of those who reported a GPA on a 4.0 scale) is 3.61. As we mentioned in our previous two analyses of this season, these averages are really impressive and would be head-of-the-class stuff at other business schools—yet each and every one of the candidates was rejected by Wharton without an interview. One fun tidbit — and again, remember that it is based on a small sample — is that those who were denied by Wharton actually had a higher GMAT score than those who reported being denied by Harvard Business School (731) and Chicago Booth (735).

Wharton Invites Are In Between HBS and Booth in the GMAT Domain.
There were 69 candidates who posted that they had received an interview invite at Wharton. This comprises 54% percent of the applicants we heard from. The average GMAT score of this group is slightly higher at 743, slightly higher than those who did not receive an interview invite, the range was 690 to 780. Their average GPA is 3.61, the same for those who were denied. For reference, Booth’s average GMAT/GPA for interview invites reported on MBA LiveWire was 739/3.65, whereas HBS was at 745/3.67.

What Does It All Mean?
While it would be foolish to draw too many conclusions from this data (see our comments above), the numbers do support the notion that GMAT/GPA are important, but that they are also simply qualifiers. Candidates are given a positive decision (interview invite in this case) based on many more factors that will include the quality of the work experience, community service record, overall impact, leadership qualifications, personal background and goals. We should also acknowledge that there might also be a small bias in terms of the candidates that chose to report their statuses to MBA LiveWire. For instance, those candidates who share a rejection of admissions may be more inclined to do so if they have strong numbers (so that LiveWire community members can express their befuddlement) – whereas those who are rejected with lower numbers may seek to avoid the “I told you so” lecture from peers.

Stay tuned for more insights from MBA LiveWire data as the admissions season continues!

Alex Brown
Alex is a co host for Clear Admit's Wire Taps podcast. He has spent 30 years in the MBA admissions industry, and authored the book: Becoming a Clear Admit: The Definitive Guide to MBA Admissions